In 2008, while deployed with the U.S. Army, Sergeant First Class Joseph James’ convoy was hit by an IED. He lost both of his legs, but he returned home with his signature unshakeable optimism intact. While still in the hospital, he spoke on the phone with his wife, saying, “Don’t worry about the legs, I’ll get new ones.” It’s that indomitable spirit that makes SFC James a light for his family, his wife, Jarin, and their children. The James’ family home wasn’t equipped to assist in SFC James’ recovery or to help in light of his disabilities, so Operation Finally Home offered to help. In 2014, the Jameses were invited to a Tennessee Titans game, but they were surprised to find out that the real gift was a brand-new, mortgage-free home. Watch as the Jameses joyfully receive their new home in Tennessee. Southern Living is proud to partner with Operation Finally Home. To make a donation to this great organization and support their efforts to honor our veterans, please visit operationfinallyhome.org/buildinghope or text BuildingHope to 41444.
Joe is an incredible dad. He's an incredible husband. He's so full of life. His goal is to find the problem and fix it and encourage you. Again, to kind of pick you back up and get you to where you're laughing or happy again. I met him when I was 19. We just started dating, and it was amazing. And I was like, I don't care what I have to do but still I'd check. Whatever I have to do, I will marry this woman. We've been married over 10 years now. [MUSIC] I joined the Military, the US Army, July of 2000. [MUSIC] April 8,2008 we were coming back from a mission with Iraq. Our four vehicles, we hit a road side bomb. I was the gunner of the vehicle. Our HumV doors were like bank vaults. It took off the front of the HumV. It went through the driver's side door. It struck Major Rosenberg. And then since I'm higher up on the gunner it went through him, my leg, and then out the back left door. Blew the door completely right off. Both of femoral arteries were severed, I was bleeding out, I was dying. I needed to do something, I didn't want to die, so I started turnicating my own legs. [MUSIC] I remember feeling so helpless. Here I was half way around the world and I couldn't hold his hand and tell him whatever is gonna happen we're gonna go through it together. Joe has called me, I was so relieved to hear his voice. He asked me how I felt about it and I said well, I think I'm still in shock And he goes, you're in shock, do you have any idea how much blood I lost, I'm the one in shock. And she told me, she was like, when he messaged me on that, like joked about it, I knew he would be fine. And I said don't worry about the legs, I'll get new ones. When he came back from the hospital he came back with prosthetic legs. And he had running legs, a lot Behind the legs. Most of my problem is nerve pain. I have nerves that run up and down my leg and it's on fire. They never stop. When I first stood up, it was on my right leg with crutches, and I wanted to cry, it hurt so bad. It was so painful [MUSIC] They told me that Joe was gonna be getting the game ball and they wanted to surprise him. They said that they wanted to If you go to a Titan's game, they'll give you a game ball. And so, yeah, you know I've never been to a football game ever, actually. It was a huge rainstorm that day, we got drenched. And I was getting ready to leave the field, someone to dry off. Wanted to get my kids out of the rain. And they go, hold on, there's one more thing. I'm excited to announce that they are partnering to provide a custom built home For you and your family here in Nashville. [APPLAUSE] I lost it, I mean, you couldn't tell cuz of the rain, but I was in tears. My wife was in tears. My kids were jumping around, going crazy. It was a very emotional moment, though, to see the look on His face. It's gonna be a grand dedication. [APPLAUSE]. Thank you for what you've done. Welcome to [UNKNOWN]. [APPLAUSE]. James family, welcome home. Wow girls. Look at this. That. Pictures of us. That's amazing, look what they did. [LAUGH] No way, look at this. My gosh, Melanie, watch your shoes. When I walked in, it felt like home. [LAUGH] This is so beautiful. Look at The kitchen. Look at the kitchen! [CROSSTALK] My goodness, Jane. Wow! [LAUGH] My gosh. It's comfortable. [LAUGH] My goodness. Wow! An upholstered headboard, layers of bedding. Wow. Lots of storage space. The way this whole room looks, this is more than we had ever thought of, and it's so beautiful. As we kind of went through the building process, one of the really big things I was excited about, was having a fireplace. Cuz we'd never had a good place to hang up our Christmas stockings. And I walked in today, and I cried, thinking about [UNKNOWN] Had stockings already lined up along the mantle, and I think I lost it there, too [LAUGH]. Yeah, yeah. Okay, I have to hug you [INAUDIBLE] [LAUGH] This is way more than We've ever, ever imagine. [MUSIC] I'm in shock over. [MUSIC] All these organizations work together to make the most amazing home we've ever seen. We are beyond bless, to be able to be in this home. We're so grateful We love everyone of you. Thank you so much. Thank you. [MUSIC]